The Leadership Consortium is made up of five primary UCEDDs joining together with the Association of University Centers on Disability and Administration on Developmental Disabilities to lead this effort to scale up and promote SD nationally. The Leadership Consortium includes:
The University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development (the Missouri UCEDD)
Carl F. Calkins, Director
The Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (the Kansas UCEDD)
Michael Wehmeyer, Director
Westchester Institute for Human Development (a New York UCEDD), in affiliation with New York Medical College
Ansley Bacon, Director
The University of Oregon Center on Human Development (an Oregon UCEDD)
Hill Walker, Director
The University of Illinois at Chicago Institute on Disability and Human Development (the Illinois UCEDD)
Tamar Heller, Director
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
George Jesien, Executive Director
The overall goal of the National Gateway to Self-Determination is “to establish a sustainable, evidence-based training system that enhances self-determination training programs that lead to quality of life outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan.” There are a number of important beliefs upon which the National Gateway to Self-Determination project is founded, as discussed below.
1. Scaling up efforts to promote self-determination (SD) are most effective when they are conducted in an enabling context focused on the people they are intended to benefit. In the case of this project, this context is established by a social-ecological framework that acknowledges the importance of the interactions occurring between people and their environments throughout their lifespan.
2. UCEDDs have a responsibility to develop evidence-based practices and to support the translation of research into practice. As such, it is important that scaling up efforts to promote self-determination be developed and tested within the framework of research-based models, theories of self-determination, and research-based or evidence-driven practices.
3. Within the context of the Gateway to Self-Determination, the development of self-determination is not an end in and of itself, but rather a viable means to accessing an improved quality of life. Thus, evaluation strategies incorporated into efforts to promote self-determination must address not only increased knowledge and skills leading to enhanced self-determination, but also include strategies for ongoing evaluation of improved quality of life outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
4. Finally, people with developmental disabilities must be equal partners in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of any effort to promote self-determination. Self-advocates will remain key partners throughout all aspects of the project’s implementation.